Joe Crump, chief creative officer of Avenue A|Razorfish
Joe Crump talks about the dramatic change in the marketplace in last 18 months, brands discomfort with the decentralization of content, and the coming era of mobile.
Transcript: Joe Crump, chief creative officer of Avenue A|Razorfish
One of the biggest issues right now is sorting through a lot of the chaos that has resulted frankly from the onslaught in business. We are busier than we have ever been, which makes us very happy, but I think at the same time so much of the business is changing. The kinds of work that we re doing, the kinds of customers that we re targeting, the kinds of experiences we re building, a lot has changed just in the last 18 months. For us the capabilities that are provided by broadband and the fat pipe and the fat pipe -- what that enables online -- are extraordinary and huge have caused the kinds of people we recruit to be different within the agency environment, the kinds of projects we re doing, are different, the scale of them, the depth of them, has all changed pretty dramatically in the last two years. All our forecasts point towards that continuing at the same rate, so that s big big big stuff.
Our role has remained fairly constant, in that we are a digital agency, so our best value is to try to provide our clients with insights about their customers specifically with respect to their digital behavior. Typically when we stay in that zone we are able to be surprising and intensely valuable for our clients, because they are typically not getting that kind of guidance from many of their other agency partners and it s a space that is changing very dramatically, so people s behavior online is in fact evolving at a pretty brisk clip, so I think that our challenge as an agency is to try to stay ahead of those changes, and try to continue to translate those changes into valuable experiences online for our clients.
The decentralization of content is a big big issue. Brands are having to get comfortable with the idea of being less monolithic than every before. We talk a lot about all brands at this point in the history of the world particularly when it comes to the web being social brands. So brands for better and for worse are open for comment and for contribution. Even when they don t want to be they are. Our point of view right now is that rather than trying to beat the customer you have to join them and create experiences fundamentally that are worth sharing with friends. Make elements of the brand be what we call pluckable, so there are elements of the brand experience that are easily shared and actually contribute social currency to the people who share them. It s more often than not a question of getting brand marketers comfortable with that idea, that their brand is going to be used in contexts and used in ways that are challenging for a lot of what they learned in business school.
When we look across our agency, particularly to our offices in Asia, frankly, they're just so far ahead of where the United States is. We are in our very very very very first fazes of what is possible in the mobile dimension and I m anxious and excited to see how that s going to play out. I think there are some things about our culture here that are profoundly different, but when I look at it just from an analytical or rational perspective, there s almost no scenario that doesn't have mobile becoming huge in the next couple of years. So I m incredibly excited to get started on that, and I m always puzzled about why brands are not doing more work in mobile. What keeps me up at night is thinking about whether or not we re going to be ready when the doors open for mobile.